Millions awarded in menopause drug case

    Jury orders Pfizer to pay Illinois woman.

    A Montgomery County attorney helped win more than $34 million for an Illinois woman who says her illness was caused by the menopause drug, Prempro. Thousands of lawsuits have been filed against the maker of the hormone therapy.

    Listen: [audio:091125teprempro.mp3]

    Attorney Tobi Millrood says his client Donna Kendall used Prempro for 11 years. A Philadelphia jury said that Prempro caused Kendall’s breast cancer and awarded her $6.3 million for pain, suffering and expenses. Millrood says his client is still dealing with the aftermath of her cancer treatment. Drug giant Pfizer was ordered to pay Kendall another $28 million in punitive damages. A separate jury awarded $75 million to a woman in a previous case.

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    Millrood: Both juries decided that the actions of the drug companies involved were reckless, and therefore they should be punished with punitive damages, intended to punish the company and deter them from future reckless conduct.

    An attorney for Pfizer says the drug maker will challenge the jury decisions. She added that there is solid science that describes both the benefits and risks associated with Prempro.

    Twelve more hormone therapy cases are set for trial in Philadelphia. The cases are being handled here because Pfizer’s Wyeth division is based in Montgomery County.

    Thousands of women have sued, saying the company didn’t disclose adequately the risks of the medication. Heidi Hubbard has defended the drug maker in the lawsuits. She is challenging the latest verdicts and will continue to fight future suits.

    Hubbard: We are looking forward to doing what I love to do, which is having the opportunity to really tell judges and juries this is what you need to know that is accurate and science-based about these medicines.

    The company has had some judgments in its favor regarding hormone therapy. Hubbard says Wyeth consistently provided accurate safety information.

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